As college students, many of us are familiar with the need to be frugal and cognizant of our spending habits. It’s common for students to have a job, or maybe even multiple jobs, to pay or help contribute to the intimidating college tuition bill and expenses. But just because you might be short on money doesn’t mean you should wait to start saving and investing for the future.
Saving and investing your money not only helps to set you up for the future but can teach you money managing skills that can be helpful as many of us are starting this new independent chapter of our lives.
For starters, get to know your bank account on a deeper level and budget your expenses. Set a specific amount of money aside for the necessities — food, gas and household items — and give yourself a small amount of money for spending on the side.
With all the essentials covered, create a savings account if you don’t already have one and put the rest of your money there. While it may be tempting to spend now, it’ll be much more valuable down the road. It doesn’t matter how big or small the amount of money is — whether it’s $5 or $500, money in your savings account is valuable no matter what. This will deter you from spending all your money now, and leave you with a cushion for the future or any emergencies that might require spending.
The topic of investing doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. You don’t need to be an expert to start investing as long as you take the time to learn and keep up with the current state of the economy. There’s many different ways to invest, but one of the most common and traditional ways to do this is through the stock market. While it can be considered risky, the rewards are high and you can stick with safer stocks until you become more comfortable investing your money.
Use tools like Yahoo! Finance, Seeking Alpha and Robinhood to learn and invest. There are many other resources and courses that can teach you the ins and outs of the stock market. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends, family and professors for guidance too, because most likely they’ll have some sort of involvement and knowledge of stocks as well.
By starting off at a young age, you’ll give yourself a head start on the future. Once you graduate, you’ll have money set aside to account for things like moving to a new state, buying or renting a house or apartment and other adult duties. If you choose to start investing, you’ll be able to grow the money in your account before you’re even out of college. Saving or investing a few dollars may not seem important now, but those small amounts of money will pile up over time and be a lot more valuable than you’d think.